Friday, February 12, 2016

Why replay on Dobbs non-HR wasn't necessary

Look to the NFL for the reason.

Why replay on Dobbs non-HR wasn't necessary

Ronald Cortes

The world that orbits around the Phillies is still talking about the call on Friday night, when Greg Dobbs' extra-inning, potential gamewinning bomb against the Red Sox was ruled a foul ball by first base umpire Jim Joyce. The ball was high, so high, that it was higher than the top of the foul pole in rightfield. There has been talk about how long Joyce took to make the call, about how they had to go to replay on a play that close, and how this is a sign of the typical arrogance that baseball umpires have exhibited forever.

Well, no.

My guess is that he didn't go to replay because there is no earthly camera angle that could tell you if the call was right or wrong. Because, you know, there isn't.

The NFL has the same issue with field goals. They do not tend to be controversial plays, and field goals were not reviewable at all until recently. But there was a wacky one a couple of years ago, one that hit the curved base of the upright oddly and bounced back onto the field of play. The officials eventually got it right but, after that, replay was instituted for field goals.

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Except in this case, from the NFL rulebook:

Non-reviewable plays include...Field goals that cross above either upright without touching anything.

The reason is simple: there is no way to tell. There is no camera on earth that can pinpoint the location of the ball at the instance it crosses over the upright. (Well, maybe if they had a camera embedded in the upright, pointed skyward -- but, I mean, come on. Even then, I'm not sure you could tell.)

The NFL won't even allow its officials to take a whack at that one on replay because there is no chance the camera can tell you for sure -- which is the standard you need in order to change the call. Baseball's standard is the same, by the way.

Might Joyce have gotten it wrong? Yes, he might have. But replay could not conceivably have offered evidence either way to overturn the call on a ball hit that high over the foul pole. So if that's the case, if there was no possible way to overturn it, there was no reason to go to replay.

It just would have been a waste of time.

Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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